St Bernard’s Church, Abbeyknockmoy
The Parish gets its name from Knockmoy Abbey, a Cistercian monastery, which was founded 1189. The parish church is dedicated to Saint Bernard and replaced a church which was situated at the entrance to the Old Abbey.
The new church was built 1826 of stone quarried in O’Rourke’s field in Newtown and was much smaller than nowadays with only one door. Landlord James Kelly donated the site on which this church stands and he is buried with various members of the O’Kelly family in a tomb behind the altar gable.
The church was extended and refurbished by Fr John Greally in 1932 and again by Fr Thomas Morley in the 1960’s.
Canon Mooney made annual pilgrimage to Knockroe by celebrating mass on St Bernard’ Day 20th August and this has continued each year since.
Fr William Diskin came to parish in 1982 and welcomed the late Cardinal Tomas O’Fiaich to the parish for the 800 years celebration of the Cistercian Abbey in 1989.
Another ecclesiastical visitor to our church was the late Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York, whose father, Michael Cooke from Cuillagh, emigrated to America in 1908. Cardinal Cooke visited the parish as Monsignor in 1962, as Bishop in 1967 and later as Cardinal in 1969.
Our present parish priest Fr. Joe O’Brien, a native of Turloughmore, has brought extraordinary changes in the involvement of the laity in various celebrations in the Church. He is responsible for the building of new sacristy, car park, Our Lady’s Grotto and landscaping of the church grounds.